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Diabetic neuropathy, a common co-morbidity of diabetic sufferers causes altered sensation, muscle weakness, collectively called sensorimotor neuropathy, and loss of autonomic control (autonomic neuropathy). The autonomic nervous system controls blood pressure, sweating, the eyes, the heart, bowel function, bladder function and sexual function. The most common form of diabetic neuropathy is distal symmetric polyneuropathy, which means that primarily the feet are involved with sensations of pain or tingling, poor muscle control, nerve palsies (including Bell's palsy), pressure ulcers and burns and infections, which can lead to gangrene, and Charcot's joints (enlarged joints). The nerve disease can also lead to systemic signs of severe weight loss, anorexia, and depression. Other sensorimotor neuropathies include focal or mononeuropathies, and amyotrophy (affects muscle). Diabetic neuropathy is a common cause of diabetic foot ulcers that can lead to amputation. This can sometimes be the stepping stone to diagnosing type 2 diabetes in some people. Provided rigorous control of blood sugar is maintained and frequent visits to the podiatrist with persistent foot care are undertaken, diabetics can avoid this tragic complication. The risk of diabetic neuropathy is a very real threat to any type 2 diabetic and those type 1 diabetics who have been diagnosed for greater than 5 years. People at risk of diabetes, such as those with a family history, obesity, or pancreas disease, and those already diagnosed with either type 1 or 2 diabetes, require preventative approaches including vigilant evaluation of their blood sugar levels, blood pressure and neurological system. Other risk factors also need addressing, such as smoking cessation, reduction in alcohol intake, exercise, and blood pressure control. Neuropathies can be detected through a clinical examination or electromyography. There is no treatment for diabetic neuropathy, but with strict control of blood sugar levels and HbA1c, diabetics can prevent it from occurring or even slow its progression.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by American Academy of Physicians
About: Sensorimotor neuropathy and autonomic neuropathy from diabetes
Date: 1 June 2005
Source: American Academy of Physicians
Author: Ann Aring, David Jones, James Falko
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